Oklahoma’s Senator Jim Inhofe has stood squarely behind the need for earmarks, until perhaps today. Will Inhofe vote for an earmark moratorium? See a video below.
The Tulsa World reports today Inhofe is considering supporting a non-binding moratorium against earmarks, but says he will always do what is right for Oklahoma.
The Internet is abuzz with talk about the two principled Republican Oklahoma senators who are on opposite sides in the earmark battle: Senator Tom Coburn ‘against’ and Inhofe ‘for,’ until perhaps today.
If I’ve understood Inhofe correctly in the past, this is not a simple issue, as many earmarks are responsible, but perhaps many more are disasterously irresponsible, i.e. The Bridge to Nowhere, The Boston Big Dig, Drunk Mice and then there is this. There are questions about unused earmark funds and where it ends up. There are questions about the appropriation process and earmarks. This from The Hill about Inhofe’s stance on Monday [emphasis Maggie’s]:
He also introduced a bill to limit earmarks that are sent to congressional campaign donors, prohibit legislative staffers from participating in fundraising, create a database of congressional earmarks, require random earmark audits by the Government Accountability Office and require earmark recipients to be certified as qualified for the corresponding project.
“It would be nothing short of criminal to go through the trouble of electing great new anti-establishment conservatives, only to have them cede to President Obama their constitutional power of the purse — which is exactly what would happen with a moratorium on earmarks,” Inhofe said.
In the video below, Inhofe says if there are no earmarks, then Congress must accept the President’s budget. If there are no authorizations or appropriations, there is no way to change his budget to enhance, for instance, defense appropriations. He says about two years ago the House defined earmarks (Cause 9 Rule 21 House Rules) as either appropriations or authorizations, and if you go to the Constitution, Congress has only one function “to authorize and appropriate.”
When Senator Inhofe advocates for or against an issue, I listen. He is brutally honest and pared with his understanding of how legislation works, his opinion is always worth considering. I hope to have some much-more-detailed information later today on Inhofe’s position, whether he votes for or against earmarks, but this video from about November 10th answers many questions.
Senator Jim Inhofe on Earmarks and the Constitution
Others talking about Jim Inhofe, Tom Coburn and earmarks: